US ISSN 0040-6406
A PRONOUNCING GUIDE TO THE NAME THOREAU
by James Dawson
How do you pronounce the name Thoreau?
Most everyone pronounces it incorrectly.
New Englanders accent the first syllable
while everyone else accents the last. Nearly
everyone, that is. The citizens of Thoreau,
New Mexico say Thru. What is correct?
In his THE ANNOTATE© WALDEN, Phillip Van
Doren Stern decided to settle the question.
He wrote, "Although millions of people say
Thoro', they pronounce the name incorrectly.
The citizens of Concord — who should know
because the Thoreau tradition has made a
lasting impression on the town — say Thurrow,
as in furrow." (1) T. Morris Longstreth
in his HENRY THOREAU, AMERICAN REBEL wrote,
"Thoreau is pronounced thorough in his na-
tive region as Henry lived his name, that is,
thoroughly." (2) Van Doren Stern and Long-
streth agree with each other. WEBSTER'S NEW
COLLEGIATE DICTIONARY says that both furrough
and thorough are pronounced the same — that
is, that the u in furrow and the o in thor-
ough are pronounced like the u in urn. Puns
and tradition aside, is this correct? Act-
ually — no.
If you walk around Concord, you will hear
the name pronounced two ways: Thur'-ro
(or Thorough) and Thor'-ro with the o pro-
nounced like the o in more. Concordians
can't even agree. Canby may have noted
this in his biography THOREAU when he wrote
"Henry David Thoreau (pronounced in the Con-
cord of that day tho'row or thorough)." (3)
I can't find that Emerson or any of Thoreau 's
early biographers made any pronouncements
on the subject,, but some of his friends had
trouble at first. When Bronson Alcott met
Thoreau for the first time in 1839, he spelled
the name phonetically in his journal as
Thorough. (4) However when Hawthorne met
Thoreau in 1842, he seems to have heard the
name differently. He wrote, "Sept. 1st
Thursday. Mr. Thorow dined with us yester-
day." (5) No agreement here — we seem to be
back to Thurrow and Thor-ro.
The name is French. I asked a French-
woman, an English teacher, on her first
trip to America how the name was pronounced
in France. She didn't know — she only knew
the American pronunciation. Would Thoreau 's
pronunciation have been French or American?
An unnamed classmate of Thoreau 's settles
this question only to add more confusion.
Answering a newspaper query on the subject,
he wrote, "Whoever pronounces Mr. Thoreau 's
name as "thorough" pronounces it barbarously.
His ancestors were French, but he never
pronounced his name as a Frenchman would,
omitting the sound of the h, but accented
the last syllable, Thoreau or Tho-row."(6)
Now we have seven pronunciations counting the
French and the New Mexican: Thur'-ro, Thur-ro'
Thor'-ro, Thor-ro', Tho-ro', Tor-ro ' and
Thru. This is certainly a record for varia-
tions of an author's name.
The Thoreau Society, Inc., is an informal
gathering of students and admire?s of Henry
David Thoreau. Thomas Blanding, president;
Eric Parkman Smith, Treas.; and Walter Hard-
ing, sec. Address communications to the sec-
retary at 19 Oak St., Geneseo, N.Y. 14454.
Dues: $20; students, $10; family, $35; bene-
factor, $100; life member, $500. Dues
should be sent to the Thoreau Society, 156
Belknap St., Concord, Mass. 01742 where the
Society sponsors the Thoreau Lyceum.
How did the Thoreau family pronounce
their name? In 1880 someone sent the news-
paper clipping to Maria Thoreau for her com-
ment. She answered, "A few days since I
receiv'd a note. . .wishing me to answer this
Query respecting the name Thoreau. But as I
have borne the "barbarous" as well as the
ludicrous pronunciation of it for so many
years I think I will let the controversy
settle it." (7) Although Aunt Maria seemed
to be fed up with the subject, she did agree
with the classmate that the pronunciation
Thorough was "barbarous," however Tho-ro'
with the last syllable accented was "ludi-
crous." This leaves us with Thor'-ro.
How did Henry Thoreau pronounce Thoreau?
Perhaps we get a clue in CAPE COD when he
playfully compares himself with a viking:
"But whether Thor-finn saw the mirage or
not, Thor-eau, one of the same family did."
(8) Thor'-ro, not Thur'-ro, Thor-ro' or
Tho-ro'. I believe this settles it.
Actually, we don't say the name exactly
as H.D.T. did. Channing wrote that Thoreau
had a peculiar way of pronouncing his r's
as if they had a slight burr to them. (9)
Thoreau would have pr-r-ronounced his name
(1) Stern, Philip Van Doren. THE ANNOTAT-
ED WALDEN (New York: Clarkson Potter, 1970),
(2) Longstreth, T. Morris. HENRY THOREAU,
AMERICAN REBEL. (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1963)
(3) Canby, Henry S. THOREAU (Boston:
Houghton Mifflin, 1939), p. 3.
(4) Canby, p. 458.
(5) Harding, Walter. THOREAU, MAN OF
CONCORD (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston,
1960), p. 154.
(6) Todd, Mabel Loomis. THE THOREAU
FAMILY TWO GENERATIONS AGO. (Berkeley
Heights, N.J.: Oriole Press, 1958 ), pp. 20-
21 (THOREAU SOCIETY BOOKLET #13)
(7) Todd, p. 21.
(8) Thoreau, Henry D. CAPE COD (Boston:
Ticknor £. Fields, 1865), p. 178
(9) Channing, Ellery. THOREAU, THE POET-
NATURALIST (Boston: Roberts Bros., 1873),
p. 2 .
THOREAU AND RAISIN BREAD by Walter Harding
For some years now there have been rumors
circulating that Henry Thoreau was the inventor
of raisin bread. The earliest printed state-
ment of these rumors that I have been able
to find was in a column by Ann Batchelder in
the September, 1943, LADIES HOME JOURNAL
where she says, "It was over a hundred years
ago that Thoreau, the one-time nature hound,
left the trees and brooks long enough to
invent raisin bread ! " Where she got the
idea I have no notion, nor does she give
When in 1965 I published my DAYS OF HENRY
THOREAU, I mentioned these rumors because,
as I said in the introduction, "I have not
hesitated at times to introduce what I was
almost certain was apocryphal, keeping in
mind Thoreau's own statement in his sketch
of Sir Walter Raleigh — 'It does not matter
much whether the current stories are true
or not, since they at least prove his re-
putation. ' "
Frankly I was strongly suspicious of the
Batchelder statement because I thought in-
serting raisins into bread must have been
common long before Thoreau's day, but I
was unable to prove it. I was pleased
therefore when recently in conversation
with Lisa Whalen, domestic arts supervisor
at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Mass.,
to have her confirm my suspicions. She
told me that adding raisins to bread dough
was commonplace even as early as Elizabethan
England and cited as an example a recipe in
THE COMPLEAT COOK published in London by
Tyler & Holt in 1671 (p. 14).
She then went on to explain that in those
days such concoctions were usually referred
to as "plum cakes"--"plum" then being a
generic term for any dried fruit and "cake"
being a term for any pastry made from dough
and filled with fruit. Thoreau himself
used the term "plum cake" frequently (See,
for example, CORRESPONDENCE, p. 623). He
often took plum cakes with him on his ex-
cursions as an easy way to pack a good deal
of food energy into a small space. Having
somewhat of a sweet tooth, he probably
packed them with more raisins than usual.
Concord housewives, who delighted in being
shocked by Thoreau's antics, probably in-
advertently gave him improper credit for
inventing raisin bread.
cast new and different spells on me, fore-
most of which was the desire to work with
ideas — to be a teacher.
As a teacher I expressed my admiration
of Thoreau's writings and his ideas so con-
vincingly that one of my school newspaper
staffs surprised me with an end-of-the-year
gift of the two-volume set of Thoreau's
I joined the Thoreau Society, the Lyceum,
and the Thoreau Foundation, relishing the
opportunities to read the latest ideas
about Thoreau. In fact, I relived the early
history of the society, sprawled out on the
floor nightly, reading the bound copies
of the first hundred numbers of the bulletin.
It captivated me with the magical air of
the founding of Fruitlands, and I felt
that I was somehow a part of those early
years of the society, just by reading the
My enthusiasm has carried over into my
teaching, too, where Thoreau often comes
up as an example in our study of vocabulary,
or in an examination of a poem, or wherever
else an analogy seems apt. At times I've
noticed that this motif-like return to
Thoreau allusions creates a special bond
within a class.
When I neared the completion of my mas-
ter 's degree in English, I took an independent
study on Thoreau, and this caused me to
appreciate Thoreau's WEEK so much that I
chose it for the topic-.of my thesis, which
argued that Mircea Eliade's ideas on the
myths of archaic man can be used to view
Thoreau's WEEK as a redemptive myth.
Other teachers have seen my interest in
Thoreau, and one colleague even presented me
with my very own rock taken from beside
'— Z. % lZ^- 10-31-53
I DISCOVER THOREAU by Denny Bowden
[Ed. note: This is another in our series
on discovering Thoreau. We would welcome
similar short essays from any of our mem-
bers who have had unusual experiences in
personally discovering Thoreau.]
Shortly after I turned 19 (when I didn't
know beans), I started carrying around a
Signet edition of WALDEN, not realizing the
impact that it would have. For several
weeks I read and re-read the book, dog-ear-
ing the corners with my rough but earnest
treatment. Before long I looked at my
world and my life with new eyes, and I put
my sports car up for sale.
My girlfriend didn't like the changes
she saw; my parents didn't understand, but
new vistas opened up for me, and literature,
philosophy, and nature were transformed,
and I decided to plant my first garden.
Of course, with repeated readings, WALDEN
ADDITIONS TO THE THOREAU BIBLIOGRAPHY by WH
Albom, Mitch. "Lawrence DeLisle's Quiet De-
speration." DETROIT FREE PRESS. Jan. 14,
1990. Today's desperate life.
Arnett, H. "A Motorcycle at Walden." CYCLE,
40 (Oct. 1989), 16.
Balota, N. "Walden" in UNIVERSUL PROZEI .
Bucuresti : Editura Eminescu, 1976. Text
Burbick, Joan. THOREAU'S ALTERNATIVE HISTORY.
Review: JOURNAL OF AMERICAN STUDIES,
Dean, Bradley. "An Orthodox Response to
'Life Misspent.'" THOREAU RESEARCH NEWS-
LETTER [TRN], I (Jan. 1990).
"The Reverend Daniel Foster: A Bib-
liographical Study." TRN, I (Jan. 1990).
"Thoreau's Illness of 1855." TRN,
I (Jan. 1990).
Dedmond, Francis B. "The Selected Letters
of William Ellery Channing the Younger
(Part One)" in STUDIES IN THE AMERICAN
RENAISSANCE 1989, pp. 115-218. 38 let-
ters from Channing to various people,
including several to HDT), from 1836-44,
which often shed light on Thoreau's ac-
tivities, all carefully transcribed and
annotated in the style we have learned
to expect from both Dedmond and SAR.
The start of an important edition.
Fleck, Richard F. "The Bird Journal of So-
phia, John, and Henry David Thoreau."
BULLETIN OF RESEARCH IN THE HUMANITIES,
87 (1987), 489-508.
Foster, Edward Halsey. RICHARD BRAUTIGAN.
Boston: Twayne, 1983. Pages 63-5, a
discussion of TROUT FISHING IN AMERICA
as a parody of WALDEN.
Hansen, Olaf. "Henry David Thoreau" in
AESTHETIC INDIVIDUALISM AND PRACTICAL IN-
TELLECT. Princeton Univ. Press, 1990.
pp. 123-40. "The relentless pursuit of
reality, as we find it exemplified in
Thoreau's journals, is the aesthetic
answer to nature's diffidence."
Harding, Walter. THE DAYS OF HENRY THOREAU.
Chap. 11, trans, into Japanese by Koh
Kasegawa. SHI TO SAMBUN, 47 (Jan. 10,
Harding, Walter, editor. THOREAU AS SEEN
BY HIS CONTEMPORARIES. New York: Dover,
1989. xxiii + 245pp. Paperback. This
revised and expanded republication of
THOREAU: MAN OF CONCORD (1960) presents
more than 200 valuable impressions of
Thoreau the man — impressions recorded
in first-hand accounts by Emerson, Horace
Greeley, William Dean Howells, James Rus-
sell Lowell, Ellery Channing (of course!),
the Alcotts (Bronson and Louisa May),
Whitman, Hawthorne, and some ten dozen
or more of his other neighbors and towns-
men, acquaintances and friends, class-
mates and associates : people who knew
Thoreau well and people who had met him
but once, people who liked him and people
who didn't. There is a new preface (in
addition to the original), a new biblio-
graphy, and an index (the last lacking
in the original book). Valuable new
material is drawn from Edward Emerson's
notes for his book on Thoreau (unearthed
by Harding during the early 1960s), some
of it heretofore unpublished; from the
diaries of John Shepard Keyes; and from
miscellaneous other writings (for which
Harding duly acknowledges the contribu-
tions of other contemporary toilers in
the field of Thoreau studies). The im-
mediacy, variety, and (yes) charm of the
accounts are the book's great strength.
And, despite discrepancies due to the
writers' biases for or against Thoreau,
the unique, multifaceted personality of
this enigmatic man shines forth as bril-
liantly here as it does from every sen-
tence he everwrote, making it all but
impossible to mistake the man they de-
scribe for Ralph Waldo Emerson, in spite
of some invidious comparisons offered by
supporters and detractors of Thoreau a-
like! It is good to have all of these
primary documents in print, easily a-
vailable for reference, for edification,
aye, even for pleasure. Every Thoreau-
vian — scholar, "enthusiast," or otherwise
— will want to own this important new
volume. — E. A. Schofield.
Miwa, Hisae. [THOREAU'S POETIC DESIRE].
Tokyo: Ohshisha, 1988. Text in Japanese.
Nash, Roderick. THE RIGHTS OF NATURE.
Univ. of Wise. Press, 1989. Includes
extensive comments on Thoreau's part in
the fight for the rights of nature.
Okuda, Joichi. [H.D. THOREAU AND CRYSTALIZA-
TION] Tokyo: Kirihara Shoten, 1989.
xi, 186pp. Text in Japanese. Preface by
Koh Kasegawa. A study of chrystal images
in Thoreau's works.
Patterson, Randall. "How the County Failed
Henry Thoreau." HILLSBOROUGH [N.C.]
NEWS OF ORANGE COUNTY. Feb. 14, 1990.
Satire: Thoreau finds it tough living in
a modern suburb.
1 ftFZS&fSW *
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Expressly for Electrotyping, |
— BY— I (;,
PENCIL MAKER, &
CONCORD, MASS. lit
-cc>-JvC ; TKr^£'t!«TN|)X^iS^'&-a>SNS^ .'."
^MM i f i M»M^ ^.:J^^ur^^)^iiMdj&^ ^ m '-\%rii,M
*tf c-^i. ; : . .»-'.i
Petroski, Henry. THE PENCIL. New York:
Knopf, 1989. "An American Pencil-Making
Family," pp. 104j-25. By far the most
detailed and authoritative study yet of
the Thoreau family pencil business, with
much additional material not included in
his earlier magazine essay.
Pinkston, Joan. "Thoreau and Current Trends
in the Teaching of Writing." ENGLISH
JOURNAL, 78, (Nov. 1989), 50-2.
Saffron, Inga. "Yo, Bard; School's Not Hard."
DETROIT FREE PRESS. Jan. TOT 1990. On
teaching Thoreau in the public schools to-
Sattelmeyer, Robert. THOREAU'S READING.
Review: AMERICAN LITERATURE, Oct. 1989.
Shinbo, Satoru. [THOREAU, HIS LIFE STYLE].
Kyoto: Hokujusha, 1989. 198pp. Text in
Japanese. Research into Thoreau's way
of thinking on both nature and religion,
relating it to the works of Donne, Blake,
Goethe, Schopenhauer, and both Christian
and Zen thought.
Thoreau, Henry D. CAPE COD [Princeton edi-
tion]. Review: A B BOOKMAN'S WEEKLY,
Aug. 7, 1989 j ENCOUNTER, May, 1989.
• IN WILDNESS IS THE PRESERVATION OF
THE WORLD. [Eliot Porter photographs].
Review: AMERICAN FORESTS, July, 1989.
. ON THE DUTY OF CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE.
Introduction by George Woodcock. Chica-
go: Charles H. Kerr. 1989. 40pp..
$3.95. A handy, well-printed, inexpensive
WALDEN. Trans, into Romanian by
Stefan Avadanei & Al. Pascu. Forward by
M. Gradinaru. Biographical notes by
Don Eulert. Iasi : Juniraea, 1973.
. WALDEN SAU VIESTA-nN PADURE. Trans.
into Romanian by A. Museiu from the French
of M. Fabulet. With an introduction by Karl
Federn, with Emerson's essay on Thoreau,
and notes by Francis H. Allen. Bucaresti :
BIblioteca Revistei Ideei, 1936.
. WALKING: EXCERPTS FROM THE ESSAY.
Photographs by Jill Sabella. New York:
Stewart Tabori & Chang, 1989. Unpaged.
$9.95. A beautifully printed little
"gift book" edition of quotations from
Todd, Richard. "The Food of Love," NEW ENG-
LAND MONTHLY. (Jan. 1990), 24-5. HDT is
corrupted by a present-day dinner planner.
Vickery, Jim Dale. "Wilderness Visions."
BACKPACKER, 17 (Oct. 1989), 30+
Williams, Michael. AMERICANS AND THEIR FORESTS
Cambridge Univ. Press, 1989. p. 17 discusses
Thoreau' s influence on American attitudes
towards their forests.
Yasinski, Nick. "Swimming in Walden." VIR-
GINIA LITERARY REVIEW, 9 (1989), poem.
We are indebted to the following for informa-
tion sent in for the bulletin: C. Adams, C.
Ander son, D.Barto,T.Blandi ng, J. Burger, J. Daw-
son, B. Dean, F.Fenn,L. Fergensen, M.Ferguson, W.
Johnson, D . Kamen-Kaye , D . Lionel , K . L j unqui st ,
M°l'denhauer , E . Schof ield ,M . Shanks ,M . Sperber ,
J.Welch, and L. Willis. Please keep the sec-
retary informed of items he has missed and
new ones as they appear.
RECENT DOCTORAL DISSERTATIONS (Cont.)
(Xerox copies of the full dissertation may
ordered from University Microfilms, 300
N Zeeb Rd., Ann Arbor, Mich. 48106.
I AN UNIVERSITY MICROFILMS ORDER NUMBER ADG83- 1 1004. 0000.
IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY AT CARBONDALE (0209) PH.D. 1982. 198
Tl DEATH IN THE WRITINGS OF HENRY DAVID THOREAU.
SO DAI V44I01). SECA. PP168.
AB This dissertation is the first thorough examination of the
literally thousands of death references in Thoreau's writings. It
chronologically traces the development of his final view of death as
a symbol of and a means to spiritual immortality. Along the way, it
points out a few inconsistencies between this view and some of his
other death-related ideas. But more importantly, it looks at how
this view affected him as a writer and helped him face his own
Chapter one begins with a brief, selective history of New
England attitudes toward death from the landing of the Pilgrims in
1620 urSil Thoreau's birth in 1817. It then looks at his early
indirect contact with death prior to the death of his brother, John.
in 1842. It examines his as yet untested attitudes toward death in
his early writings--his college essays, an obituary, and his 1837-41
Chapter two describes John's death and Thoreau's traumatic,
psychosomatic reaction. It then traces his gradual recovery as seen
in his letters, poetry, 1842-49 journal, and A Week on the Concord
and Merrimack Rivers. It also looks at his more general views on
death and his experimentation with death imagery in his 1842-49
journal, his Dial essays. "Resistance to Civil Government," and A
Chapters three and four discuss his use of death-related ideas
and imagery in his writings from 1850 through 1854 and from 1855
through his posthumous publications. Chapter three looks at his
1850-54 journal. "A Yankee in Canada," "Slavery in Massachusetts,
and Walden; chapter four, his 1855-61 journal, his John Brown
essays "Autumnal Tints." "Walking". "Life without Principle . The
Maine Woods, and Cape Cod. Chapter three records his acceptance of
death as a symbol of and a means to spiritual immortality; chapter
four examines the presence of this view in his final writings.
Chapter five reviews his lifelong interest in other peoples
deathbed scenes and his admiration for the heroic death. It then
sketches his final illness, ending with his triumphant death in May
THE DEBATE OVER THOREAU'S SCIENTIFIC
CREDENTIALS by Lawrence Buell (Abstract
of a 1989 MLA Lecture).
Thoreau's scientific credentials have
been a subject of continual debate, owing
in the first instance to his own conflicting
pronouncements on the role and value of
science and to his ambiguous position in
the scientific community of his day. As
Thoreau devoted himself more seriously to
scientific study, he paradoxically became
more astringent toward science's myopic
vision. As a member of the New England
scientific community, his primary visible
role was that of specimen collector — a
role increasingly identified with the
fringes rather than the vanguard of scien-
tific progress — yet he absorbed Darwin
before many of America's prominent scien-
tists did and in retrospect might be seen
as prophetically in advance of the taxon-
omy-oriented mentality that still dominated
mid-19th century science: as a precursor
of as-yet-unbaptized disciplines like ecolo-
gy, limnology, and phenology.
The question of the place that science
ought to be seen as occupying in Thoreau's
thought and work has also been viewed very
differently at different points in the his-
tory of Thoreau scholarship. Thoreau's
reputation as a writer, especially in
America, was chiefly nurtured by late 19th-
century literary naturalists whose patriarch
he increasingly seemed. When he was incor-
porated into the American literary canon
at the turn of the century, it was chiefly
on the basis of his stature as the Ameri-
can writer as scientist. Within a few de-
cades, however, this aspect of Thoreau has
been eclipsed by the images of Thoreau as
social radical and/or as literary craftsman,
both of which tended to marginalize Thoreau
the natural historian.
Given this drift in the first half-century
of Thoreau's reputation as a canonical fig-
ure, it is striking that the last decade or
so has witnessed, for a variety of reasons,
a rehabilitation of something like the
earlier image of the scientistic Thoreau.
Some obvious signs of this are renewed at-
tention to his natural history writings and
the two most recent major biographies by
Richardson and Howarth. Equally striking,
however, has been the rate at which Tho-
reau's work has been cited by practicing
scientists (cf. Robin McDowell's two TSB
notes and Harding's VQR essay). A number
of these citations are window-dressing,
but the more substantive among them add
up to a rather impressive picture of Tho-
reau 'S stature as a figure that a number
of scientists are glad to claim him as a
fellow worker. This quasi-acceptance of
Thoreau by the scientific community should
not inspire complacency in literary schol-
ars, however; on the contrary, it should
inspire renewed efforts within our disci-
pline to define Thoreauvian aesthetics,
and the aesthetics of nonfiction generally,
in a way that is capacious enough to in-
clude scientific discourse.
FINANCING THE TEXAS HOUSE by. Walter Harding.
We are grateful to Robert Galvin for pro-
viding us with copies of the following two
documents from the MIDDLESEX COUNTY REGISTRY
RECORDS (rcccXLIX, 297) concerning the Tho-
reau family's financing of what they always
called their Texas House, which they built
on what is now Belknap Street just beyond
what is now the Thoreau Lyceum. The Texas
House was badly damaged by fire and wind in
the late 1930s and was eventually torn down
in the 1950s. Another building has since
been erected on its site.
In 1844, when the railroad from Boston
first reached Concord, a station was erected
on its present site on what is now Thoreau
Street. David Loring purchased the adjacent
Heywood farm and opened it up for real es-
Although the Thoreaus had moved to what they
called the Yellow House on Main Street (what
is now known as the Thoreau-Alcott House) in
1850), they continued to own the Texas House
for many years, renting it out to various
tenants such as the Wassons and the Robinsons.
The first document records the purchase
for tweaaty-f ive dollars of the three-quart-
ers acre lot from Loring; the second records
their mortgaging it two days later for
five hundred dollars to Augustus Tuttle
to buy lumber and supplies for the build-
ing. The Thoreaus finally paid off the
mortgage eleven years later in 1855.
David Loring to John Thoreau -
Know all men by these Presents, That
I, David Loring of Concord in the County
of Middlesex Commonwealth of Massachu-
setts, in consideration of Twenty five
dollars to me paid by John Thoreau, the
receipt wherof is hereby acknowledged,
do hereby give, grant, bargain, sell and
convey unto the said Thoreau a certain
tract of land lying in said Concord
bounded as follows commencing at the South-
easterly corner on a street ^nd by land of
Nathan W. Brooks, running northerly on
said Brook one hundred and seventy seven
feet to a stake and stones, then westerly
on land of the grantor one hundred and
eighty feet to a stake and stones, then
southerly on land of the grantor two hun-
dred and five feet to said street, thence
Easterly on said Street one hundred and
seventy five feet to the bound first
mentioned and containing about three
fourths of an acres more or less.
To have and to hold the above granted
premises with the privileges and ap-
purtenances thereto belonging, to the- said
Thoreau, his heirs and assigns, to their
use and behoof forever. And I the said
Loring for myself and my heirs, executors
and administrators, do covenant with the
said Thoreau, his heirs and assigns that
I lawfully seized in fee of the afore
granted premises; that they are free
from all incumbrances, that I have good
right to sell and convey the same to the
said Thoreau, his heirs and assigns forever
against the lawful claims and demands of all
In witness whereof, the said David Loring
and Susan F. Loring wife of said David in
token of her relinquishment to right to Dower
in the premises, have hereunto set our hands
and seals this tenth day of September in the
year of our Lord eighteen hundred and forty
four. Executed and delivered, David Loring
(seal), Susan F. Loring (seal),
in the presence of us, George Loring, Lydia A.
Loring Middlesex ss. Sept. 10th, 1844. Then
personally appeared the above named David
Loring and acknowledged the above Instrument
to his free (act) and deed, Before Me,
Nathan Brooks, Justice of the Peace,
Middlesex ss. Sept. 14, 1844. Rec'd& Recorded
by Henry Stone (?), Reg.
John Thoreau to Aug. Tuttle
Know all Men by these Presents, That I,
John Thoreau of Concord in the County of
Middlesex and Commonwealth of Massachusetts,
Yeoman, in consideration of five hundred
dollars paid by Augustus Tuttle of Concord
aforesaid, Yeoman, the receipt whereof I do
hereby acknowledge, do hereby give, grant,
sell and convey unto the said Tuttle, a cer-
tain tract of land lying in said Concord as
follows, commencing at the southeasterly
corner on a street and by land of Nathan W.
Brooks, running northerly on said Brooks
land one hundred and seventy seven feet to
a stake & stones, thence westerly 1 on land
of David Loring one hundred & eighty feet
to a stake & stones, thence southerly on
land of said Loring two hundred and five
feet to said street, thence easterly on
said street one hundred & seventy five feet
to the bound first mentioned containing
about three fourths of an acre with a dwell-
ing house on the same.
To Have and to Hold the aforegranted
premises to the said Augustus Tuttle, his
heirs and assigns to his and their use and
behoof forever. And I do covenant with the
said Tuttle his heirs and assigns, that I
am lawfully seized in fee of the aforegrant-
ed premises: that they are free of all in-
cumbrances, that I have good right to sell
and convey the same to the said Tuttle and
that I will warrant and deferd: the same
premises to the said Tuttle, his heirs &
assigns forever, against the lawful claims
and demands of all persons. Provided
nevertheless, That if the said John Thoreau,
his heirs, executors or administrators pay
to the said Tuttle, his heirs, executors,
administrators or assigns the sum of five
hundred dollars in five years with interest
semi-annually, then this deed as also a
certain note of hand bearing even date
wills these presents given by the said
Thoreau to the said Tuttle to pay the same
sum of five hundred dollars & interest at
the time aforesaid shall both be void;
otherwise shall remain in full force. In
witness whereof, I the said John Thoreau
with Cynthia wife of said John who hereby
releases her right of Dower in the premis-
es, have hereunto set our hands and seals
this first day of September in the year of
our Lord one thousand eight hundred and
forty four. Signed, sealed and delivered
in the presence of Helen L. Thoreau, Henry
D. Thoreau - John Thoreau, (seal), Cynthia
D. Thoreau (seal) Middlesex ss. September
12th 1844. Then the above named John
Thoreau acknowledged the above Instrument
to be his free act and deed - before me,
Nathan Brooks, Justice of Peace.
Middlesex ss. Sept. 14, 1844, Rec 1 d &
Recorded by Henry Stone (?) Reg.
Know all men by these presents, That I
Augustus Tuttle within named, in consider-
ation of the full payment of the debt se-
cured by the within mortgage by the within
named John Thoreau the receipt whereof is
hereby acknowledged do hereby release &
quit-claim unto the said Thoreau the lands
herein described and hold said Thoreau
free & acquit from all & every claim that I
may have upon him by virture of the within
deed of Mortgagery the note secured there-
by. Executed in presence of Geo. M. Brooks
Middlesex ss Sept., 1855. Then personally
appeared Augustus Tuttle and acknowledged
the foregoing instrument to be his free
act and deed. Before me Geo. M. Brooks,
Jus. of Peace Cambridge, Feb. 11, 1856.
Rec'd & Recorded by Cabel Hayden, Reg.
THE 1990 ANNUAL MEETING . . .
The 1990 annual meeting of the society-
will be held on Saturday, July 14, 1990,
in the First Parish Church in Concord,
Mass. Coffee and a social hour will begin
at 9 a.m. The business meeting will start
at 9:45. Thomas Planding will deliver the
presidential address and it will be follow-
ed by a concert-lecture conducted by Walter
Harding and friends on "Musical Tributes
to Thoreau." Saturday afternoon Jack Bor-
den will speak on "Using Thoreau's Writings
to Gain a Deeper Awareness of the Beauty
and Wonder of the Sky"; there will be a
forum on "Approaches to Teaching Thoreau";
and Marcia Moss will conduct her special
tour of the Thoreau treasures in the Con-
cord Free Public Library. In the evening
Tom Potter will conduct a multi-media
perspective on "Thoreau, the greatest
Essay." On Friday evening, the 13th,
Anne McGrath will speak at the church on
"Henry Thoreau t Correspondent." And on
Sunday morning, the 15th, Mary Sherwood,
chairwoman of Walden Forever Wild, will
conduct a nature walk at Walden Pond.
At Saturday noon, a luncheon will be
served at the church, and Saturday even-
ing a supper will be served at the Ly-
ceum. Tickets for each of these events
are $12.00 apiece and reservations must be
made in advance before Wednesday. July 11th ,
at the Thoreau Lyceum, 156 Belknap St.,
Concord, Mass. 01742 (Telephone: 508-369-5912,
The nominating committee announces that
their candidate for president at the annual
election will be Dr. Edmund Schofield of
NOTES AND QUERIES . . .
We welcome into being volume one, number
one of TON: THOREAU RESEARCH NEWSLETTER for
January, 1990, issued by Bradley P. Dean
(P.O.Box 562, Conner, Mont. 59827). It is
a clearinghouse on research on Thoreau and
will appear quarterly. Subscriptions are
seven dollars. And may all its issues be
as stimulating and interesting as this one.
COLLECTORS' CORNER: Joseph Rubinfine
(505 S. Flagler Dr., Suite 1301, W.Palm
Beach, Fla. 33401 ) is offering the manuscript
of Horace Greeley's letter of March 11, 1853
to Thoreau for $2500.
BOOKMAN'S PRICE INDEX, Vol. 39, lists the
following recent sales: 1st of CAPE COD, $300,
$100; Watson ed. of CAPE COD, $135, $200; 1st
of EARLY SPRING, $150; 1st of EXCURSIONS, $150;
1st & LAST JOURNEYS, $250; LETTERS TO VAR . PER-
SONS, $650; 1st of MAINE WOODS, $300; 1st of
WALDEN, $3000; 1st English of WALDEN, $175,
$450; 1st of WEEK, $2000, $225; MS Edition,
$4000; 1st of YANKEE, $450, $275. AMERICAN
BOOK PRICES CURRENT 1989 lists: 1st of CAPE
COD (Rockwood Hoar's copy), $950; 1st of
MAINE WOODS, $160; 1st of WALDEN, $2800,
$600; 1st of WEEK, $2200; 1862 WEEK, $800;
MS Edition, $2800, $2400. ALS, Nov. 15, 1850,
T to Franklin Forbes, $4000; ALS, Feb. 2,1855,
T to Sanborn, $6500; ALS, Mar. 8, 1857, T to
Mary Brown, $5000.
Composer John LaMontaine has recently donat-
ed to the Thoreau Society Archives both a re-
cording and the score of his beautiful "Wilder-
ness Journal" based on a text from Thoreau.
On Feb. 26, Anne McGrath, curator of our
lyceum, lectured at West Concord Depot on
May 24-6, Hellgate Writers (210 North
Higgins, Missoula, MT 59802) will sponsor a
conference on "In the Thoreau Tradition: Na-
ture and the Written Word." Among the speak-
ers will be Robert Richardson.
At the July annual meeting, details of
the gift of a remarkable collection of
manuscripts relating to Thoreau and his
New Bedford friend Daniel Ricketson, to
the Thoreau Society archives by Ray E.
Parmenter of Wrentham, Mass. will be an-
Richard O'Connor is compiling a check-
list of birds seen on the Walden Pond
State Reservation and would appreciate
receiving word of any unusual species
seen thereon or learning of any check-
lists of the birds of the reservation
past or present. He should be addressed
at the Thoreau Lyceum, 156 Belknap St.,
Concord, Mass. 01742, where many of you
know him as a guide there.
Thomas Blanding is conducting a seminar on
Thoreau 's natural history essays at the Tho-
reau Lyceum for eight weeks this spring. He
also spoke on the conservation problems at
Walden Pond on the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR'S
Forum program for cable TV and public radio,
broadcast widely in early February.
Publicity over that controversy continues
widespread. See, for example, HISTORIC PRE-
SERVATION for Feb., 1990; LINCOLN JOURNAL,
Nov. 30, 1989; CONCORD JOURNAL, Dec. 21, 1989,
Jan. 25, 1990, Feb. 1, 1990; AUDUBON MAGAZINE,
Jan. 1990; POETS & WRITERS MAGAZINE, Jan. 1990;
USA TODAY, Dec. 28, 1989, Jan. 3, 1990; and BOS-
TON GLOBE, Dec. 20, 1989.
The latest LAND'S END catalog quotes Tho-
reaui "All good things are cheap; all bad
very dear . "
THE NEW MENCKEN LETTERS, edited by Carl
Bode (New York: Dial, 1977, p. 564) quotes a
letter from Mencken to W.H.Archer: "Thoreau
was an amusing fellow, and I agree with him
in very large part. Nevertheless, I have
never been able to convince myself that he
was really profound. Unhappily, he has been
horribly belabored by pinks of all sorts. I
wish there were a really good edition of his
writings." (Aug. 21, 1946).
J.Miller has called to our attention that
all photographs of Thoreau show white under the
iris of the eye. In Japan this condition is
known as Sanpaku and is supposed to indicate a
tragically short life.
On March 11, 1939, the novelist Scott Fitz-
gerald wrote his daughter Scott ie, "After
reading Thoreau I felt how much I have lost
by leaving nature out of my life." (LETTERS,
ed. by Andrew Turnbull (New York: Scribners,
1963, p. 51).
Charlotte Adams writes that she has recently
come across a note among Raymond Adams' papers
saying that in 1934 he interviewed Mrs. Mary
Coughlin of Concord "whose mother worked for
Mrs. Thoreau at the time Henry lived at Walden
and while Mr. Thoreau was sick; in fact, the
mother was married at the Thoreau house." A
further indication of the Thoreau family's
concern and interest in their Irish neighbors.
A fish caught in Walden Pond recently was
found to contain a gold, horseshoe-shaped
diamond ring appraised at $600, according to
the CONCORD JOURNAL for Feb. 1, 1990. We are
quite sure it wasn't Henry's.
Jonathan T. Grimes, a Minnesota nursery
man, reports in his memoirs written in 1898:
"During the sixties I had an unusual experience.
Mr. Henry D. Thoreau, poet-naturalist, came to
Minnesota on account of his health. He
boarded with a Mrs. Hamilton who had an ex-
clusive boarding house on the shore of Lake
Calhoun . . . where many southern people had
been guests before the war. As Mr. Thoreau
was a lover of trees and flowers he often
visited with me and one can imagine the
pleasures Mr. Thoreau must have derived
from roaming through Linden Hills when Lake
Harriet was surrounded by a virgin forest."
[from THE GRIMES FAMILY by May Agatha Grimes
(Minneapolis: Lund, 1946, p. 20). It was
Grimes, incidentally, who finally succeeded
in showing Thoreau the wild crab apple.
"At present I am reading my seventh vol-
ume of Thoreau. The very richest of his
thoughts I have struck yet. FAMILIAR LET-
TERS, edited by Frank Sanborn. Wonderfully
appealing, and brings one in closest touch
with Thoreau as a fellow man. The book in-
terprets a side of the philosopher which
most biographers have purposely avoided,
apparently to intensify their conception
of the man as stoic.
"FAMILIAR LETTERS tells you how inter-
ested he was in the house cat, and what ten-
derness he showed for his home people and
his few friends. The letters are full of
genuine pathos, not because they are pathe-
tic, but because they are so tender, and so
"Even in moments of intense grief, when
he lost his favorite brother, 'John, ' his
child friend, 'Waldo' (Emerson's oldest boy),
and his own father, his letters are whole-
some, so hopeful and uplifting, that one
feels the more, perhaps, his profoundly
deep Grief." — N.C.Wyeth, THE WYETHS (Boston:
Gambit, 1971. p. 339.
Marston Watson's Plymouth estate, Hillside,
which Thoreau once surveyed, has now become
a real estate development and one of its
streets is labeled "Thoreau Road."
A cartoon in the August 22, 1989 MIDDLE-
SEX NEWS contrasts cranes (blue herons)
that Thoreau saw at Walden with building
cranes now seen there.
On the next page we reproduce with the
permission of the Concord Free Public Li-
brary Dr. Edward Jarvis's map of the Mill-
dam of Concord Village as it was in Tho-
reau' s childhood. This is now the north-
ern end of the main shopping district in
Concord. As this map shows, the main
street was then literally a milldam with
a mill pond (now long since drained) be-
hind the stores on the east side. The
mill brook still crosses the area though
it is now completely covered over where
it crosses the street.
Jarvis (1803-1884) was one of Concord's
most distinguished citizens. A member of
the Social circle, he became a widely
known pioneer in the treatment of the men-
tally ill, in the field of statistics,
and in census-taking. A number of his
manuscripts, including HOUSES & PEOPLE
IN CONCORD, 1810-1820, from which this
map is taken, are now in the Concord Free
Concord lAiilMa m_jS£pps 1810-1820
C AG! NETS
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WANTING (I I
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millxlan, klcix sltJU on plJUna&,
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G. /.. T utile LAW
T/te Milldam oft Concoid Village., 1110-1620
A6 ntwzmbznid bit Vn. EdioaKd Ja/iviA In hi*
HOUSES ANV PEOPLE IN CONCOKV
\ScjiIc 40 £t«J inch Rcdiaion bt( T. Reerf, f97f.